It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season, that I encountered my friend. (6)
The carnival season represents freedom. It happens just before Lent. Everybody parties during carnival to prepare for the seriousness and sacrifice of Lent. But, for Fortunato, the carnival season soon becomes the opposite of what it’s supposed to be.
“I have no engagement;–come.” (22)
Fortunato is letting Montresor know that he is “free” to go with him to check out the Amontillado. Ironically, this freedom is part of what traps him in the end.
“Come,” I said, with decision, “we will go back; your health is precious.” (35)
At this point, Fortunato might still be free to turn back, but he is trapped be his desire for the Amontillado. We wonder what would have happened if he’d tried to leave. Would Montresor have dragged him in to the crypt anyway?